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How to handle oxygen cylinder and regulators

by Liam Neeson about a month ago in how to
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This article will tell you all the tips and tricks you need to know about handling oxygen cylinders properly, from storing them to disposing of them safely when they run out of oxygen or are empty, to transporting them in your vehicle safely and efficiently.

How to handle oxygen cylinder and regulators
Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

Oxygen cylinders come in various sizes and weights, so knowing how to handle them safely is important for all healthcare workers that are working with oxygen cylinders, whether you’re an airline stewardess or an EMT provider.

1) Use the proper cylinders

Most oxygen cylinders are steel with a finish called "oxidised steel," meaning they have a thin layer of rust on them that protects them from corrosion. This is usually written on each cylinder as either OS or Oxide. When it comes to handling oxygen, you need to use the correct cylinders because OS tanks will be more resistant to damage than stainless-steel tanks.

Oxygen regulators should also be handled properly so they don't crack or rupture. Cold temperatures can cause a regulator to crack, and dropping or mishandling them can result in serious damage. The best way to protect your regulator is to store it in its protective box when not in use.

2) Understanding pressure settings

By CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

When dealing with oxygen cylinders, it's important to have a basic understanding of pressure settings. Also known as PSI (pounds per square inch), these settings indicate how much pressure is there. The higher your PSI setting, the more oxygen you’ll have in your cylinder.

However, there are various ways that doctors recommend adjusting these PSIs depending on what kind of patient you are—many doctors recommend lowering PSIs for people who are obese or pregnant, while others opt to use a lower setting.

The most common way to determine whether or not your pressure settings are correct is by using a flow meter, which measures how many litres of oxygen you consume over time. This helps ensure that you aren't wasting any extra oxygen.

3) Perform routine maintenance

By JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Trust us, you don’t want to spend your hard-earned time doing maintenance work on your medical oxygen cylinders, regulators, and other equipment every single day.

Even if you do have time for it, you probably won’t want to. Be sure that you perform routine maintenance on all of your oxygen supply equipment.

Check connections, purge lines with compressed air, test flow metres and humidifiers, etc. If something seems worn or doesn’t seem right, replace it immediately before someone gets hurt or before there's a disruption in treatment services.

4) Prevent leaks

The easiest way to prevent leaks is to never lay your oxygen cylinder down. Even while they’re empty, oxygen cylinders remain pressurized; if you allow them to fall over, you risk puncturing their thin metal walls.

If you need a break or are transporting oxygen, keep it upright (either by holding it or rolling it on a cart). When possible, avoid laying your oxygen cylinder flat in medical storage cabinets. Many hospitals now provide vertical storage racks for keeping tanks upright.

5) Properly store cylinders

Remember that proper storage is key. Oxygen can be dangerous if left out at room temperature for too long. To keep oxygen tanks cold, place them in an insulated box with frozen water bottles inside. There are ways to safely store medical oxygen cylinders.

They should be stored in well-ventilated areas, at least 10 feet away from heating and cooling equipment. In a warehouse setting where multiple cylinders are stored together, some sort of marking system is often used to help medical personnel identify which tank belongs to whom.

The cylinders can be marked with a sticker or tag, so that they can be used in a situation where multiple people have access to multiple tanks. You might also keep records on who brought what tanks into your facility on what date as another way of keeping track of things.

6) Recharge your cylinders correctly

Properly storing your oxygen cylinder is important. When you’re done using your oxygen cylinder, make sure it’s fully empty by opening its valve until there is no air pressure in it.

Never leave a partially full cylinder unattended as it will likely rust over time, exposing you to harmful chemicals. Then store your oxygen tank away from sources of heat and moisture so that it doesn’t get damaged or freeze over the wintertime.

Avoid bringing them outside when they aren’t in use so they don’t pick up moisture from dew or rainwater. If you want to prolong their life span, avoid dropping or bumping them as well; being gentle with oxygen tanks can help them last longer before needing replacement.

7) Understand what you're breathing from the cylinder

You want to know exactly what you are breathing in from your oxygen tank. Is it 100% O2? Is it air? The cylinder needs to be labeled, as well as your regulators.

Even though you see that red tip on your regulator, it is still not always safe enough. Make sure you have a full understanding of what is in that tank before using it yourself.

Make sure you know what is in there and also that it has been properly serviced too! There are many safety checks needed before using cylinders as well.

When not used correctly, oxygen tanks can be quite dangerous. If they become damaged or have rust on them, they can cause serious injury if used improperly.

8) When handling oxygen and transporting cylinders, wear proper PPE

Even if you’re storing or moving oxygen cylinders without regulators, it’s important to be safe. There are many different types of oxygen cylinders. Make sure you wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) when handling any of these cylinders or working in a pressurised environment.

Your PPE should include a respirator or mask, eye protection, coveralls, boots, and work gloves. When in doubt about your specific situation, contact OSHA guidelines for safety in your area.

9) Before using, go over the safety procedures

Before attempting to handle oxygen, be sure you have thoroughly reviewed safety procedures. There are many new advances in medical technology, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe.

Learn as much as you can about both its benefits and risks. If your doctor prescribes oxygen for use at home, ask him or her if there are any precautions specific to your situation that should be taken into account before you start treatment.

The only way to protect yourself from injuries is by practicing proper safety measures for handling oxygen cylinders.


The crux is that when oxygen gets used as a medical treatment, use it with care. By following these nine ways of safely storing oxygen cylinders and regulators. By doing so, individuals will avoid causing accidents or injuries due to improper handling.

Properly using oxygen can help many patients feel better when they need it most. It can also help keep these patients safe from any harm that may occur if oxygen is not stored properly.

When storage of cylinders is in a way that keeps them away from any sort of heat or direct sunlight. They will last longer than if they are away from the damage because of heat or UV light exposure. It is also recommended that you educate all members of your household on how to safely handle oxygen cylinders and regulators.

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About the author

Liam Neeson

Writer/ blogger, who enjoys traveling the world and meeting new people!

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